Foreign countries launch promotions to attract Chinese travelers and reactivate local tourism
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), shows a gift for Chinese tourists at Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 6, 2023.
A growing number of foreign tourism authorities have launched promotional activities in China, hoping to attract Chinese tourists to boost their tourism revenues, which were ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand is strengthening “Visit Thailand Year: Amazing New Chapters” campaign since the start of the year. On Monday, an offline roadshow under the same theme was held in Shanghai, following earlier promotion in Kunming, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
Dozens of Thai hotels, duty-free shops and travel agencies attended the roadshow, according to a report by yicai.com.
Thailand has been one of the most active countries in luring Chinese tourists after China optimized COVID-19 management, as the latter has historically contributed to a quarter of Thailand’s inbound travelers. And the Southeast Asian country has been among the first group of destinations open for Chinese tourists to resume travel.
On February 6, China resumed outbound group travel to 20 countries, including Thailand, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and New Zealand. Group tours between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions also resumed.
The move came after the country downgraded its management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B on January 8.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has raised its forecast for expected Chinese tourist visits to the country from a previous five to six million this year to seven to eight million, given the strong recovery momentum, the yicai.com report said.
The Middle East is also gearing up to welcome back Chinese tourists. On the same day, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) launched a promotional campaign in Shanghai.
The number of foreign overnight visitors to Dubai increased to 16.7 million in 2019, helped by a rise in Chinese visitors. That year, the country welcomed a total of 989,000 Chinese visitors, media reports said.
Apart from short-distance travel destinations, more distant markets including Europe are also making preparations.
Iris Wang, Chief Representative of Tourism Ireland in China, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the agency is preparing to launch services that could meet the demand of Chinese travelers as people look to travel abroad this year.
Wang holds an optimistic view of the recovery of Chinese outbound travel. “It undoubtedly has good prospects, and it is only a matter of time for the business to resume to pre-pandemic levels.” But at the moment, there is still a lot of work to do.
“For long-distance destinations, from the gradual recovery of commercial flights, the redevelopment of travel agency products, to the confidence and purchasing power of consumers, it still takes some time to build up,” Wang said.
Meanwhile, for tourism service providers in destinations, they need to get fully prepared to welcome Chinese tourists ranging from language services, booking and payment methods, social media content and other fields, she added.
In 2019, Ireland attracted an estimated 100,000 Chinese tourists.
Source: global times